Independent TD, Michael Healy Rae, has asked the government to permit buyers around sales rings in livestock marts under Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.
He said he has received “hundreds” of calls from around the country from mart managers who have outlined the issues they now face as a result of online-only sales.
“Farmers who do not have access to the internet, cannot buy cattle. If you do not know how to use a computer, you cannot buy cattle.”
“The reports coming out of marts after sales shows they have plummeted. Marts were operating in an extremely safe and well-run manner; it makes no sense to close them and I have called on the Taoiseach during the week to rectify their mistake.”
Question on behalf of the farmers of Ireland
Addressing the Taoiseach, during Leaders Questions, Healy-Rae said: “The person who never made a mistake never made anything.”
“I am grateful to the Government for looking back and saying it was a mistake to restrict funerals to ten people and that the limit should have been the same as weddings at 25 people.”
“I respect that the Government was able to look at that and change that.”
“Now I am respectfully asking you [the Taoiseach] on behalf of farmers from Malin Head to Mizen Head, the length and breadth of the country, and of course, not least in our marts in Cahersiveen, Kenmare, Milltown, Gortatlea, Castleisland, Tralee, Listowel and Dingle.”
“What I want to ask you very clearly is will you please make an allowance that those marts can open and that buyers, people who want to purchase animals at marts, can go in and stand around a ring in a socially responsible way.”
He referred to the implementation of such measures in marts when the country was placed under Level 3 restrictions.
“The sellers can operate on a rota system coming in and out, so I am not talking about a free-for-all under any circumstances.”
“It is a clear question on behalf of the farmers of Ireland. Let the buyers buy the animals that want to be sold.” Healy-Rae concluded.